The Marshall Plan, Netflix and Other Letters to the Editor

The Marshall Plan, Netflix and Other Letters to the Editor

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To the Editor:

In reading Samantha Power’s review of “The Man Who Ran Washington: The Life and Times of James A. Baker III,” by Peter Baker and Susan Glasser (Sept. 27), I was jarred by the former national security adviser Thomas E. Donilon’s genuflection to Baker as “the most important unelected official since World War II.” What about George C. Marshall, whose European Recovery Program rebuilt the western part of that war-torn continent?

Certainly Baker was a reliable consigliere for the Bush family and a “political knife fighter,” as the authors noted, but hardly a man to admire as a statesman, much less as a principled Republican, for as Power concluded, “Baker refused to speak up” about George W. Bush’s disastrous invasion of Iraq and throughout the debased Trump presidency, “because he was afraid of being frozen out of the corridors of power.”

Kitty Kelley
Washington

The writer is the author of “The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty.”

To the Editor:

I admire much of what Samantha Power has done and written, but I take exception to her affirmation of George H. W. Bush’s and James Baker’s handling of the fall of the Soviet Union. She talks of Baker and, by implication, Bush as having “deftly managed” the collapse. But their decision to advance economic liberalization without first putting a viable legal and political framework in place led directly to Putin — the corrupt replacement of the first wave of corruption — who is of course responsible for some of the bleak situations we find ourselves in today, from the Syrian refugee crisis to the current occupant of the White House.

Joshua Kates
Bloomington, Ind.

To the Editor:

The Sept. 27 issue was particularly revealing. James Baker countenanced the slandering of Michael Dukakis and the physical intimidation of Florida Democrats in 2000, but is an old-fashioned establishment Republican. We learn in the review of Rick Perlstein’s “Reaganland” that Ronald Reagan was uncomfortable blowing a racist dog whistle while campaigning and did it anyway. And we learn in the review of Michael S. Schmidt’s “Donald Trump v. the United States” that Donald F. McGahn II, formerly of the George W. Bush administration and more recently with Donald Trump, engaged in “frequent attempts at principled stands” but stayed in an obviously corrupt White House until he found Kim Kardashian having influence on policy. History doesn’t repeat itself, but it sure does rhyme.

Michael Green
Las Vegas

To the Editor:

Reading Héctor Tobar’s review of Chris Hamby’s book “Soul Full of Coal Dust” (Sept. 20) — a “timeless” tale about “coal miner fortitude and company malfeasance” in Appalachia, as Tobar describes it — I was reminded of Harry M. Caudill’s 1962 book “Night Comes to the Cumberlands.” Caudill dealt with the predatory practices of the Kentucky coal industry. Writing at a time when coal production had been nominally under federal and state regulation for decades, Caudill still could warn: “And we just can’t afford to sit back and watch all that [land] be destroyed so a few people can get rich now. One of these days the dear old federal government is going to have to come in and spend billions of dollars just to repair the damage that’s already been done. And guess who will have the machines and the workmen to do the job? The same coal operators who made the mess in the first place will be hired to fix it back, and the taxpayers will bear the cost.”

Destroying terrain and human bodies, a “timeless” tale.

Leo S. Levy
Slingerlands, N.Y.

To the Editor:

How I hope that the Book Review was well paid for the Netflix ad it ran, thinly disguised as a By the Book interview with the Netflix founder Reed Hastings (Sept. 27). Subscribers expect better!

Patrick Wolfe
North Vancouver,
British Columbia

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